Amanda Charles
Snowmass Sun
Snowmass Village, CO, Colorado

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March 5, 2013
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Snowmass does the Harlem Shake

SNOWMASS VILLAGE - It might have nothing to do with the shoulder-swiveling dance that made waves in Harlem back in 1981, but if one thing's certain, the "Harlem Shake" Internet craze has gone viral. For the uninformed, it started with a song - a heavy bass instrumental track produced by Brooklyn DJ artist Baauer - and ended with a phenomenon that puts it on the charts as one of the biggest memes ever to hit the web. According to the Associated Press, approximately 4,000 videos of "Harlem Shake" variations are uploaded to YouTube and Facebook daily, all of which follow one formula: a 30-second clip where one person dances discreetly for 14 seconds while others linger around them motionless, followed by an instant video cut to 14 seconds of heavy music and a group of people (most often in outlandish costumes) dancing aggressively, ending with 2 seconds of slow motion slur and dancing.

After coming across the video online titled, "Harlem Shake (Snowmass Style)," I got in touch with local video producer and photographer Tamara Susa to talk about the video she recorded from Base Village.

Snowmass Sun: What made you come up with the idea to make a Harlem Shake video in Snowmass?

Tamara Susa: I had been watching up on the hundreds of Harlem Shake videos on YouTube, and since I had yet to see one on the snow I thought, why not? I got in touch with my snowboarding instructor friend Toby Radcliff, and we made an event through Facebook that invited everyone to come out and participate.

SS: Aside from the fact that most Harlem Shake videos follow the same formula, how did you come up with the costumes and dance moves to bring it all together?

TS: We really didn't come up with any costumes, which is what made it so fun because everyone was so creative with it. We had the idea of showing the ski and snowboard instructors in red jackets at the start of the video, but that was the only real direction we took going into it. Everything else was somewhat impromptu, and we had a boombox playing the song so everyone could follow along to the beat.

SS: How many takes did you do when recording the video? What camera did you use?

TS: We truly weren't out there very long. We did two takes of the dance, and eventually decided the second take would be the winner. I used my Canon 7D camera to shoot it.

SS: What is it about the Harlem Shake that inspired you to produce a video? What are your thoughts on people creating millions of similar videos all over the world?

TS: I used to work for an event production company in Chicago where I shot a lot of video in the electronic music scene. Not only was I passionate about the music component of the Harlem Shake, but the creative side as well. You can watch the same video over and over and still see something different every time, particularly because no two people are the same, both in costume and in dance.

SS: What brought you to Snowmass? How does the Harlem Shake video, and other videos you produce ring true to your passions and interests as a videographer/photographer?

TS: I came to Snowmass a year ago to pursue snowboarding. The slogan I carry with me is "Be the Experience," which means that in everything I do, I want to be a part of it, enjoy it and capture it the way I would experience it if I were on the other side. Just how the people of Snowmass are so close to nature and embrace it in everything they do, I too, approach photography and videography the same.

To see Susa's video, visit YouTube and type in the words, "Harlem Shake Snowmass Style." Another Harlem Shake video by Susa, "Harlem Shake on Ice," featuring the Snowmass hockey team, is also on her YouTube page.


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The Aspen Times Updated Mar 5, 2013 05:48PM Published Mar 5, 2013 05:47PM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.